In 1967, the pizza to order in residence was the “seafood special.” Being covered in anchovies, it guaranteed that no one would want to share or nab your pizza. This particular pizza was the favourite of six Civil Engineering students that would continue to share meals together for many years to come.
What began as six men who met during frosh week as Civil Engineering students at the University of Waterloo, became a lasting friendship that evolved into our “Waterloo Family” with three generations and over 40 people that have grown up listening to their UWaterloo stories!
UWaterloo was very different back in the 60’s and 70’s. A lot of the buildings were not constructed so some classes were held in portables. The Engineering “submarine” (aka J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall) was there, as was the Bomb Shelter Pub but the majority of the buildings that exist today did not exist back then. Although the settings may have varied, my father and his five best friends all graduated as Civil Engineers. All went on to achieve master’s degrees, and one a PhD, followed by successful careers, remaining close buddies all the while.
The experiences my father and his friends shared with me as I was growing up definitely influenced my decision to attend Waterloo. Even though I went for Math, which I later learned was the arch nemesis of Engineering, I believe everyone was proud to see the Waterloo tradition carry on through me and my two cousins; one who attended UWaterloo for Engineering, and the other for Environmental Sciences. The work experience gained through the Co-op program and my completed degree have continued to open doors for me within my career and I am very proud to call myself a University of Waterloo alumnus. I probably would not have gone to UWaterloo had it not been for the experiences passed down through my UWaterloo family.
Time spent at university is a defining moment in the lives of most, and the bonds formed at university are special. For our group, it defined more; a family. As family, we have attended each other’s weddings and are aunts, uncles and god parents to each other’s children. The family regularly meets throughout the year, but the signature event is in the summer over the Civic Holiday weekend. Imagine a long weekend of housing, cleaning, and cooking for over 40 people, and you’ll see why this is a challenge only six engineers could undertake!
This year marks the 50th Anniversary making our weekend this year a special one. I am sure we will hear more stories from my father and his friends such as the places they lived, getting married while still completing Master’s Degrees, and unusual work terms like the one my father took in Jamaica where he met his future wife on the beach! The tradition continues with stories from the second generation such as meeting partners at Waterloo to later marry, being recognized by way of a pink tie pin while in Iceland spelunking lava tube caves, and thrilling tales of time spent in Africa with Engineers Without Borders.
As UWaterloo celebrates its 60th Anniversary, our UWaterloo Family celebrates its 50th, read more about our story in a recently published Imprint article.